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The Topics: *Alternatives *Big pharma *Big trouble *Conferences *Conflict of interest *Diseases and their vaccines *Legal/political *Miscellaneous *Research  *Vaccine-related issues

Conflict of interest/ethics re: big pharma, research, vaccines

March 1-7, 2004

*For most of the Wakefield "conflict of interest" articles posted on the site, click here (check periodically for updates)

►March 5, 2004 - Companies Facing Ethical Issue as Drugs Are Tested Overseas (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times -

►March 3, 2004 - MMR has always been safe - Doctors - 'OUR policy has been that MMR is and has always been safe.' - Isle of Man Online - "'In other words Dr Wakefield had been paid by the Legal Aid Board to investigate if there was a case linking MMR and autism and he did not disclose this to the editors of the journal, as is required,' said Dr Kishore...'It is hoped that this new revelation will help to dispel any lingering doubts which members of the public have about the safety of MMR and that parents would ensure that their children are vaccinated with MMR. It is also worth recalling that in the past there had been serious problems resulting from use of single vaccines.'"

Comment:  The failure to disclose the possible conflict of interest does not in and of itself mean that there was anything wrong with Wakefield's research.  The research may or may not have been influenced by the alleged conflict.  If there was as much attention being paid to those with clear conflict of interest re: the vaccine manufacturers as re: someone investigating the issue for a legal aid board, the furor over this might seem fair and reasonable.  As it is, the furor appears to be more political than anything.

►February 13, 2004 - Fraud spurs Cell paper retraction - Postdoc fabricated data, leaving his career in tatters and embarrassing his boss - The Scientist via BioMed Central

►February 23, 2004 - Doctors pressure human guinea pigs - MDs are paid up to $5,000 per patient to sign up volunteers for drug trials - CanWest News Service via The Vancouver Sun via

Comment:  Wow.  If that isn't a conflict of interest, I don't know what is.  This article is chock-full of disturbing information.

►February 29, 2004 - MMR docs' links with drugs firms - Sunday Mercury via - "Four leading Midland doctors who deemed the controversial MMR vaccine safe have links to the drug giants who make or supply the jab...Campaigners have called for the General Medical Council to investigate the senior Government advisors, who all hold scientific posts in the Midlands and sat on key committees which declared the vaccine safe."

February 29, 2004 - Twisted conflicts - (letters) The Observer via The Guardian, UK - "It seems a scientist, such as Dr Andrew Wakefield (News and Leader, last week), who uncovers genuine concerns about the safety of a vaccine has to be 'squeaky clean'...In contrast, scientists who are vocal in support of the vaccine, and are responsible for checking its safety, are allowed to receive research funding from the company that produces it and to hold shares in the company, or act as consultants." (sent by Dr Milton Wainwright, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield)

►February 29, 2004 - Doctor demands apology for MMR claims in Lancet - Telegraph, UK - "Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who first raised fears of a link between autism and the MMR vaccine, has hired a libel lawyer to demand an apology from The Lancet after claiming that the medical journal has cast doubt on his honesty...Dr Wakefield's decision to enlist the support of Carter-Ruck, the London law firm that specialises in defamation suits, follows the denunciation of his work last week by The Lancet."

►February 29, 2004 - Dirty tricks drug firms use to get publicity - The Scotsman - "SHOCKING tactics including bribery, fabrication and plagiarism are being used by unscrupulous drug companies to get their research published in influential medical journals, according to a damning new report...Only a week after controversial research on the MMR vaccine was discredited by the journal which published it following a 'fatal conflict of interest', an influential committee has revealed the widespread use of underhand tactics by researchers."

►February 29, 2004 - Autism is a mystery, not a medical conspiracy - opinion - The Scotsman - "In contrast to Wakefield, I intend to declare an interest at the outset. My son Josh is autistic. Like most children, he was given the MMR vaccine at around 18 months. Shortly afterwards, he began exhibiting the first signs of what we now identify as autistic behaviour. The link between these two events is tempting, but, for reasons of sanity, I have resisted it...In the vast majority of cases, autism manifests itself at around two years, or, in other words, just after the MMR is administered. This coincidence inspired Wakefield’s study. In 1998, his team reviewed reports of children with bowel disease and autistic symptoms. Their research led them to conclude that the MMR shot caused developmental regression, in some cases within 24 hours of vaccination."

Comment:  A temporally related relationship alone does not prove causation.  But a recent event raises a red flag and is, in fact, the most likely cause.  Moreover, the fact that autism didn't used to occur at two years old, nor did it result in the loss of skills as does the new, "regressive" form of autism, means cavalierly dismissing the temporal relationship as "coincidental" is neither wise nor scientific.  Sadly, however, this is characteristic of what happens re: the vaccine issue. The fact that others are beginning to corroborate Wakefield's findings, in spite of the difficulty finding funding to do so, and the potential risks to one's reputation and livelihood, make easy answers like the ones voiced in the opinion piece above even harder to swallow.

►February 26, 2004 - Leslie Burke is terminally ill. Today he will ask a court for the right to live -

►February 29, 2004 - Health bosses deny MMR deception - Health bosses have denied university students' claims that they were tricked into having the MMR vaccine without their knowledge. - BBC - "A mass inoculation programme against mumps took place at the University of Kent at Canterbury earlier this month after six students caught the disease...Now some students have told a national newspaper they were not told they were being given the MMR vaccine."

February 23-29, 2004

*For most of the Wakefield "conflict of interest" articles posted on the site, click here (check periodically for updates)

►February 19, 2004 - Report Urges Higher Ethics in Human Toxicity Studies (requires registration) - Reuters Health via Medscape - "A government-sponsored expert panel recommended Thursday that federal regulators closely scrutinize controversial experiments in which humans are intentionally exposed to toxic chemicals...The panel urged the agency to restrict human toxicity research to studies that are "necessary and scientifically valid" and to only use human volunteers in cases where animal testing is uninformative or unavailable. Human studies should also only be performed when the potential benefits to society outweigh the potential risk to research subjects, the report said."

►December 1, 2001 - Financial Conflict of Interest and Medical Research: Beware the Medical-Industrial Complex - journal article (The Journal of Philosophy, Science and Law)

►February 29, 2004 - AIDS Tots Used As 'Guinea Pigs' - New York Post Online - "The state Health Department has launched a probe into potentially dangerous drug research conducted on HIV-infected infants and children at a Manhattan foster-care agency, The Post has learned...Some 50 foster kids were used as "guinea pigs" in 13 experiments with high doses of AIDS medications at Manhattan's Incarnation Children's Center, sources said...Most of the ICC experiments were funded by federal grants and in some cases, pharmaceutical companies."

Comment:  This is just one of many examples pointing to the fact that we should not blindly give power over our health to the government or the pharmaceutical companies.  Clearly, we cannot simply assume they have our best interests at heart.

►February 24, 2004 - When Your Doctor Goes to the Beach, You May Get Burned (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times 

►February 19, 2004 - NIH probe expands - High pay for 'top individuals' questioned; investigating committee chair to step down - The Scientist

►February 2004 - Call For Full Disclosure of the Money Received By Expert Witness Acting For The Pharmaceutical Companies - Autism Research Campaign for Health 

►March 11, 2004 - The Dawn of McScience - (book review: Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research?) - The New York Review of Books 

►February 27, 2004 - Journals plan regulation scheme - Medical journals should have a code of conduct, similar to that which governs newspapers, an ethics body has said. - BBC

►February 25, 2004 - Commercial funds pay for our research - letters to the editor - The Guardian 

►February 23, 2004 - Controversy over accusation of research bias on MMR (requires subscription) - Times Online, UK

►February 12, 2004 - Human embryos cloned - South Korean team demonstrates cloning efficiency for humans similar to pigs, cattle - The Scientist via BioMed Central

►February 24, 2004 - Synthetic Science - - "Finally, two of the authors admitted under threat of perjury that they were paid consultants of implant manufacturers and one admitted under oath that he knew that Dow Corning had donated $7 million to Brigham & Women's Hospital, a participant in the study."

February 24, 2004 - Dr. Andrew Wakefield and the MMR Controversy - Second Opinion by Nicholas Regush - - "It doesn’t look very good for Dr. Andrew Wakefield, an English physician and researcher who has championed the need to investigate the potential relationship between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism...Today, the scavengers of British journalism surfaced and attacked him and his work, and attempted to destroy whatever chance he may have to rescue his scientific reputation."

Comment:  Excellent overview.

February 24, 2004 - The corporate stooges who nobble serious science - The MMR scandal shows a business riddled with conflicts of interest - "It looks like a conflict of interest and his failure to disclose it was wrong. But the crime for which he is being punished is everywhere. The scientific establishment is rotten from top to bottom, riddled with conflicts far graver than Dr Wakefield's....In other words, the great majority of the scientists with conflicts of interest are failing to disclose them...So, given that undisclosed conflicts of interest in science are everywhere, why is it only Dr Wakefield whose bloody remains are being dragged through the streets? The obvious answer is that his alleged cooption works against the interests of the drugs companies, while almost everyone else's works in their favour."

Comment:  Very interesting article.

February 16-22, 2004

►February 19, 2004 - Artificial Blood Tested Without Consent - AP via The Herald-Sun - "Paramedics are testing an experimental blood substitute on severely injured patients without their consent in an unusual study under way or proposed at 20 hospitals around the country...The study was launched last month in Denver and follows similar research that was halted in 1998, when more than 20 patients died after getting a different experimental blood substitute...Supporters say the current product, PolyHeme, made by Northfield Laboratories of Evanston, Ill., is safer and could save many of the nearly 100,000 people who die of bleeding injuries each year nationwide."

►February 19, 2004 - Panel Weighs Toxic Research on Humans - AP via The Miami Herald - "Exposing human volunteers to toxic pesticides and pollutants for scientific purposes is justified only under strict conditions and with careful review, a National Academy of Sciences panel said Thursday...The Environmental Protection Agency should establish a special review board to evaluate any studies that involve intentionally giving people toxic chemicals, the committee said."

►February 19, 2004 - Science Panel OKs Pesticide Tests on Humans (requires registration) - Los Angeles Times - "A National Academy of Sciences panel said today that human test subjects could be intentionally dosed with pesticides and other toxic substances as long as the companies or government agencies conducting the tests meet high ethical and scientific standards...The Bush administration sought the advice from the esteemed group of scientists after it sparked a controversy by reversing a Clinton-era moratorium on the use of human subjects in tests that are used by Environmental Protection Agency officials as they decide safe exposure levels for pesticides."

►February 19, 2004 - NIH Conflict of Interest Panel to Meet in Early March - National Institutes of Health 

►February 20, 2004 - Journal regrets running MMR study - The medical journal that published a controversial study linking MMR to autism says, with hindsight, it would not have published the paper. - BBC

►February 17, 2004 - The link between funding and the disclosure of clinical trial results - - "There have been several conflicting reports in the medical literature about whether industry funding influences research findings and conclusions...In this week's issue of CMAJ, Bhandari and colleagues reveal the results of a study of 332 randomized trials published between January 1999 and June 2001 that show that industry-funded trials were more likely to be associated with statistically significant pro-industry findings. They state this conclusion is not limited to trials of medical treatments -- it applies to trials of new surgical interventions as well."

►February 18, 2004 - Facing the evidence: antidepressant treatment in children and adolescents - journal article (CMAJ) - "It is clear that our efforts to establish a scientific basis for the treatment of childhood depression are severely compromised by both unpublished research and the uncritical acceptance of published data. It is disturbing to note that there has been no formal response to this crisis from opinion leaders in child psychiatry, many of whom were investigators in both published and unpublished trials."

►February 14, 2004 - Feeling good about placebos - Michigan State University via 

►February 12, 2004 - Medicare for lobbyists - editorial - Palm Beach Post - "Rep. Billy Tauzin delivered a $540 billion prescription-drug benefit for Medicare. Now, the Louisiana Republican is leaving Congress for a $2 million-a-year job in the drug industry. When it comes to exposing your principles, Rep. Tauzin makes Janet Jackson look coy."

February 9-15, 2004

►February 13, 2004 - Excessive heat kills lab animals - Thirteen monkeys and dozens of hamsters died over the weekend at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton after they were housed in 100-degree heat for several hours due to a heater malfunction. -  Helena Independent Record

January 26 - February 8, 2004 (2 weeks combined due to illness)

►February 6, 2004 - Cancer research center accused of not telling patients enough about risks - AP via - "A lawyer for cancer patients' families told jurors Thursday that the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's doctors did not fully inform patients about the risks of an experimental treatment...'Had they provided all the information, no reasonably prudent person would ever have consented to participate,' attorney David Breskin said in his opening statement in a civil lawsuit alleging negligence and fraud by the center and three doctors...The five patients, who all had leukemia and who all died, underwent bone marrow transplants with an experimental treatment known as T-cell depletion."

►February 3, 2004 - Spanish scientist cleared - Scientific freedom of speech seen as winner in suit between drug firm and pharmacologist - The Scientist - "David has beaten Goliath again, this time in Spain. Joan-Ramon Laporte, the Spanish pharmacologist who was taken to court on January 16 by the giant Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) for an article in which he commented on the irregularities surrounding the company's VIGOR trial has been cleared of wrongdoing."

►January 29, 2004 - Bill would target drug firms' gifts to doctors - St. Louis Today - "Prescription drugmakers give doctors billions of dollars in gifts each year, a practice that an Illinois legislator says gives the companies too much influence over which medicines doctors prescribe...State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, introduced a bill this week that would force drugmakers to disclose how much they are giving to doctors. He said gifts can influence many doctors into prescribing more-expensive drugs...'It's all about money. They are the most profitable industry on the planet,' Franks said. 'Doctors, I think, will admit that one of the reasons they meet with the representatives is because of the goodies.'"

January 19-25, 2004

►January 19, 2004 - When kids take the risks - Children enrolled in clinical trials usually do not directly benefit and may suffer health consequences. (requires registration) The Los Angeles Times - "Some physicians and medical ethicists are warning that a new push to include kids in drug trials could endanger the health of the children who sign up for them."

►January 22, 2004 - Panel Says Zoloft and Cousins Don't Increase Suicide Risk (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times - "Adding to the debate over using antidepressant drugs for depressed teenagers and children, a group of prominent researchers issued a report yesterday saying that Zoloft and similar medicines did not increase children's suicide risk...The group, drawn from members of the American College of Neuro- psychopharmacology, also found that the drugs were effective in treating children's depression...Critics pointed to weaknesses in the report...Critics of the medicines noted that 9 of the 10 task force members had significant financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, although such ties are common among prominent researchers. The panel said no industry money financed the report."

Comment: Give me a break.  9 out of 10 have financial ties but "no industry money financed the report".  What do they think we are, stupid?

►January 23, 2004 - Medical Research Dealings Explored by a Senate Panel (requires registration or subscription) - The New York Times - "Senators sharply questioned health officials on Thursday about a possible need for stricter limits and disclosure requirements for government medical researchers who enter into lucrative consulting deals with drug and biotechnology companies."

►Winter 2003 - An Interview with Dr. Reginald Finger, ACIP member -   The ITAT Sharpshooter - "Q ...Do you intend to stay involved here in Colorado? A Dr. Finger: Yes, I especially enjoy being part of the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition. If Colorado is going to climb out the cellar with its immunization rates, some insights from the national level may be helpful along the way. There are at least three other national leaders in immunization here in Colorado too, not counting Tom Vernon from Merck who has strong ties here. If we all work as a team, maybe some really good things will happen!"

Comment:  Isn't this a teeny, tiny conflict of interest? 

►January 23, 2004 - NIH defends consulting deals - (requires registration) - At Senate hearing, top officials deny wrongdoing; Zerhouni appoints review panel cochairs - The Scientist - "Senior officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) yesterday denied committing any improprieties when they accepted lucrative consulting contracts from pharmaceutical and biotech companies that had dealings with the agency. Testifying before a Senate subcommittee, one institute director called the allegations, reported by the Los Angeles Times, “'misleading, grossly inaccurate, and filled with false innuendo.'”

►January 20, 2004 - Drug Companies Get Too Close for Med School's Comfort (requires registration or subscription) - commentary - The New York Times - "Our psychiatry department at the University of Arizona is divided over these interactions. On one hand, a number of professors and a few residents have grown concerned that the department is allowing the pharmaceutical industry to teach our residents to embrace newer, more expensive drugs. On the other, many residents have argued against restrictions, suggesting that they should learn to respond to the marketing now and that prohibiting contact would leave them unprepared for the future. A minority have argued that academic freedom gives the faculty and residents the right to speak with whomever they choose."

►January 18, 2004 - Probe Sought Into NIH Officials' Outside Work * Three House Democrats ask the investigative arm of Congress to look into 'potential conflicts of interest' stemming from drug-firm payments. (requires registration) - The Los Angeles Times - "Citing details from a Los Angeles Times article published last month, the House members called for an "investigation into potential conflicts of interest" at the federal government's center for medical research on humans...In an interview, Waxman said, 'It is evident that there is a real problem at NIH, when researchers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars consulting, at the same time they're doing research paid for by the public.'"

►January 14, 2004 - Doctors lash out at cancer society over HRT - The Globe and Mail - "Obstetricians and gynecologists are lashing out at the Canadian Cancer Society, questioning its scientific expertise and commitment to women's health...The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada is up in arms because the cancer society urged women last week not to take hormone-replacement therapy for menopause symptoms, except in rare instances, because the health risks outweigh the benefits."

Comment:  Remind me, whose interests are the obstetricians and gynecologists representing?  Ah, perhaps the answer can be found below....

►January 15, 2004 - Why Doctors Lashed Out At Cancer Society Over Hormone Replacement Therapy - By RFD Columnist, Lise Cloutier-Steele -

January 12-18, 2004

January 16, 2004 - Kathy Sykes: We need to see the human side of scientists and their role in society (opinion) - Independent, UK - "Finally, school science should equip people with skills they need to tackle ethical issues involving science, such as the MMR debate. People need to be able to find out information, to assess different points of view. They need to see their way through some tricky ethical debates to make wiser decisions. And scientists similarly need to be equipped to discuss ethical issues around their work in a world where it is no longer acceptable for them to say 'deciding how the science is used is not my business'."

►January 15, 2004 - Doctors giving MMR 'by stealth' - - "Family doctors have been accused of administering the MMR jab by stealth to children coming into their surgeries to receive other vaccinations...At least 50 horrified parents have complained that their GPs have 'mistakenly' given their children the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, it has emerged."

►January 12, 2004 - Is Signed Consent for Influenza or Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccination Required? - journal article (Archives of Internal Medicine) - "Obtaining signed consent prior to administering the vaccines represents an obstacle to achieving the Healthy People 2010 goals for vaccinating individuals against influenza and pneumococcal disease. Signed consent is neither legally mandated nor a guarantee that the patient (or proxy) has given informed consent...The authors have no relevant financial interest in this article." 

Comment:  Wouldn't want to let a little thing like informed consent interfere with achieving our goals, now would we?  And what exactly is an irrelevant financial interest?

►January 12, 2004 - Parents' anger over MMR threat to GPs - Leeds Today - "Doctors used to receive bonuses for achieving targets on vaccinating children with the triple measles, mumps and rubella jab...But now, a new policy set down by the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI), states that GPs will LOSE money if they fail to convince enough parents to have the inoculation."

►January 13, 2004 - The Medical Industry's Practice of Giving Gifts to Doctors - How Should the Law and Professional Regulations Address it? - FindLaw's Writ - "As part of their multi-billion dollar marketing efforts, many companies in the medical industry give gifts to doctors. They do so in order to gain a competitive edge: For the companies, doctors' choices are key. Nearly two-thirds of all patient visits in the United States end with the doctor writing a prescription. And for the medical industry, doctors' prescriptions control sales...Gifts to doctors may have negative effects."

Comment: My guess, my opinion, is that that is a huge understatement.

►January 17, 2004 - Puzzle of delay in exposing report - The Scotsman - "ONLY two weeks into new year, and the first significant health scare story of 2004 was shown to be seriously flawed in its scientific methodology...Just as the concern prompted by a study which claimed to "prove the link" between the MMR jab and autism was shown to be incorrect and a case of bad science, so the evidence of toxic contaminants in salmon has been shown to be seriously wanting...Minute scrutiny of the report, written in scientific language that tends to obfuscate rather than elucidate, was diverted. Thus everybody missed the final footnote of the article which revealed: 'This research was initiated and supported by the environmental division of the Pew Charitable Trusts', and questions that should have been asked about the organisation were not."

Comment: Would that they would apply the same high standards of scrutiny to the alleged proof that an MMR/autism link had been disproved.

►January 14, 2004 - Foregone conclusions - The public is being regularly deceived by the drug trials funded by pharmaceutical companies, loaded to generate the results they need - The Guardian, UK - "How then do companies usually manage to fund research that is favourable to them? An answer is supplied in a recent issue of the BMJ by Dave Sackett and Andy Oxman, two tireless campaigners for the better use of scientific evidence in medicine...The trick is in the question asked and the design of the trial."

Comment:  And if you think none of this has anything to do with the validity of vaccine safety and effectiveness research.....

►January 12, 2004 - Researchers try to cut new path to pharmacy (requires subscription) - Wall Street Journal via  - "A growing number of universities and hospitals are moving beyond basic science and into limited drug development in an attempt to generate interest from risk-adverse drugmakers."

January 5-11, 2004

►January 10, 2004 - Immunologist accused of misconduct is allowed to relocate - journal article (BMJ) - "The leading Sydney specialist in immunology, Bruce Hall, who was accused of scientific misconduct, will escape any punishment after a controversial decision by his university to allow him to relocate his laboratory and staff."

►January 10, 2004 - Three journals raise doubts on validity of Canadian studies - journal article (BMJ) -  "Suspicions about the validity of research by Professor Ranjit Kumar Chandra, a prominent Canadian researcher, have been raised by three journals, including the BMJ."

►January 4, 2004 - A Suicide Side Effect? - What parents aren't being told about their kids' antidepressants - - "'If there was a warning that said 'Caution: this drug may cause suicide in some people,' then doctors are going to know about it,' Farber says...Instead of warning people, Farber charges, Glaxo-SmithKline tried to hide the true numbers. 'They cooked the books,' says Farber during a recent interview. 'They cheated on the results. And the FDA is part of this.'"

Comment:  Sound familiar?

January 10, 2004 - Scottish doctors will have to register financial links to drug companies - journal article (BMJ) - "Doctors in Scotland are to be required to declare any financial or personal links they have with drug companies on official registers that will be made available for public inspection. The move is part of an agreement between the NHS and the drugs industry on joint working that aims to reduce potential conflicts of interest and improve openness and transparency."

►January 4, 2004 - A Suicide Side Effect? - What parents aren't being told about their kids' antidepressants - - "'If there was a warning that said 'Caution: this drug may cause suicide in some people,' then doctors are going to know about it,' Farber says...Instead of warning people, Farber charges, Glaxo-SmithKline tried to hide the true numbers. 'They cooked the books,' says Farber during a recent interview. 'They cheated on the results. And the FDA is part of this.'"

Comment:  Sound familiar?

December 28, 2003 - Editorial: Deals with scientists taint NIH research - San Antonio Express- News - "National Institutes of Health scientists are damaging the credibility of their work by receiving consulting fees, stock options or other types of pay from drug companies whose products they research for the federal government...The Los Angeles Times this month exposed the disturbing trend among senior NIH scientists of moonlighting for biomedical companies and legally being able to keep that information from the public...The situation isn't fair to American taxpayers, and the potential conflicts of interest are phenomenal."

December 29, 2003 - January 4, 2004

►December 31, 2003 - Scripps' arrival opens animal research debate - The Jupiter Courier - "'With more reliable and more humane alternatives available today, (Scripps) has no business conducting gruesome and archaic animal tests,' ARFF President Nanci Alexander said in a news release. 'If (Scripps) is using animals in their research, we believe the public has the right to know exactly what and why.'"

May 2000 - CDC Refuses to Deny Conflict of Interest on Vaccine Policy Committee - AAPS Newsletter - "Government witnesses were not so forthcoming in admitting bias or conflict of interest. Dr. Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician who receives money from vaccine manufacturers to give pro- mandatory vaccine presentations across the country, is a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC-the supposedly "independent" government group which makes recommendations on national vaccine policy. His official statement only acknowledged his "collaboration on the development of a rotavirus vaccine." When pushed by a question submitted to Rep. Burton by Ms. Serkes about his financial ties to Merck & Co., Dr. Offit would only admit an "apparent conflict- of-interest." [Dr. Offit pushed mandatory vaccines at a symposium underwritten by Merck at the August meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Nashville, attended by Dr. Orient and Ms. Serkes; Dr. Orient was refused a place on the panel.] "

November/December 2003 -Yet Another Government Scandal - Breast Cancer Action Newsletter

November/December 2003 - Conflicted Science: How Industry Corrupts Research - Breast Cancer Action Newsletter - "It's worse than you think."

December 19, 2003 - The Milky Way of Doing Business - - "At issue is a letter dated November 3rd that Dr. Johnston sent to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Tommy G. Thompson, officially expressing the AAP’s concern over the “negative approach” of the federal agency’s soon-to-be-released, pro-breastfeeding advertising campaign. What Dr. Johnston didn’t mention in his letter, however, was that he had developed this sudden and seemingly urgent interest in this issue not via a last minute clinical review of the scientific literature, or even after consulting with the AAP’s own recognized lactation science experts...In fact, his concern came immediately after aggressive, personal lobbying by representatives of one of the AAP’s biggest financial contributors, the $3 billion U.S. infant formula industry. Within days of a New Orleans meeting with worried formula industry reps, Johnston hurled the considerable credibility and persuasive impact of the esteemed American Academy of Pediatrics into an explicit effort to stifle the most ambitious initiative ever undertaken to promote breastfeeding in the United States."

Comment:  The American Academy of Pediatrics is apparently making a habit of confusing the interests of the children it is charged with protecting and those of industry.  For evidence of its considerable conflict of interest with vaccine manufacturers, go to Scandals: "There are no secrets that time does not reveal"  - What time and the legal system are beginning to reveal about what vaccine manufacturers and the CDC know.

December 29, 2003 - U.S. Scientists' Deals With Drug Firms Under Review * Director of the National Institutes of Health may increase disclosure of consulting payments. (requires registration) - LA Times - "Zerhouni's letter, dated Tuesday, added: 'Our mission is too important to the public health of the nation to have it undermined by any real or perceived conflicts of interest…. I believe that the public's interest is best served by complete transparency, full disclosure, independent review, and proactive management and monitoring of all outside relationships.'"


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